Colossal torque comes at a price.
- 2009 FPV F6 E; 4.0-litre inline six-cylinder; six-speed automatic - $79,740
- Satellite Navigation $3230;
310kW and 565Nm, they’re figures not uncommon to many performance cars with V8 engines. Ford Performance Vehicles went against tradition in 2003 when it released a turbocharged version of its six-cylinder engine, bucking the V8 stronghold that began as far back as the Aussie motoring enthusiast can remember.
With over 40% of FPV sales going toward FPV’s potent turbocharged six, it’s a market segment FPV has attempted to capitalise on with the F6 E. The FPV F6 E is a luxo version of the F6, offering the same intoxicating performance with a little more leather and a lot more wood.
From the exterior, it’s hard to differentiate the F6 E from any other Falcon. A subtle boot lip spoiler, alloy wheels and single colour FPV body kit are the only visual enhancements. As with all turbocharged Falcons, the front-mount intercooler bares itself through a mesh grille at the lower portion of the front lip.
It’s inside the cabin where the F6 E shines. Lashings of woodgrain feature throughout the cabin, along with leather padding on the doors and centre console. The chunky sports steering wheel sits comfortably in the hand, but doesn’t tilt high enough for taller drivers.
A cheesy starter button and unique vehicle number sit in a panel that deletes the tissue holder fitted to the non-FPV Falcon range.
The audio and climate controls are easy to use and easy to find, which is crucial when searching while travelling at speed. The only disappointment is the lack of backlighting on the steering wheel controls, making them hard to see at night.
Music lovers will enjoy the sound system’s ease of use. iPod owners can plug their device directly into the jack located in the centre console. Music is controlled via the central interface, allowing the user to select playlists and navigate folders.
Unfortunately, the quality of the speakers goes against the ease of use and functionality. A lack of clarity and audible distortion ruins the experience. It’s about time Ford invested in a quality audio setup for their cars.
Driver and front passenger leg and head room is fantastic. Rear passenger leg room on the other hand is slightly cramped, while head room is accommodating for both adults and children.
The seats are very comfortable, but don’t offer much side and lateral support. The flat based seats will send you sliding around the cabin if you don’t watch your P’s and Q’s during cornering. Although the driver is treated with an electrically adjustable seat, the passenger is left with full manual adjustment.
Powering the F6 E is Ford’s renowned 4.0-litre, inline six-cylinder engine. Featuring forced induction by way of turbocharger, the menacing six produces 310kW and a back shoving 565Nm of torque from a low 1950rpm. The F6 E is only available with the German ZF Sachs six-speed automatic gearbox. The official combined fuel consumption figure is 12.1L/100km, on test that figure was easily achieved with the vehicle averaging 11.8L/100km.
If you’re yet to drive a modern turbocharged inline six-cylinder such as the Falcon or the offerings from BMW, you’re missing out on an engine note that assaults the senses. It doesn’t assault them in a bad way, more in the way that Jen Hawkins would assault your senses if she was standing in front of you, nude.
When you give it some serious welly, the inline six begins to moan soon before the turbocharger spools and brings on a tsunami wave of torque that doesn’t relent until 5200rpm. The induction noise, in addition to the exhaust note can be heard from a mile away.
If the acceleration wasn’t brutal enough, the menacing noise on up-shift is sure to get your senses tingling.
Braking is taken care of by a set of 355 x 32mm cross drilled and ventilated front rotors with Brembo 6 piston callipers and 330 x 28mm cross drilled and ventilated rear rotors with Brembo 4 piston callipers. The pedal is firm, but offers plenty of bite and feedback. The steering is spot on, erring on the heavy side to give the driver a sense of effort during cornering.
The gearbox features manual shifting and a sport mode that holds gears and shifts with intensity when it notes the driver’s style change.
The ride is soft with a hint of firmness. As a result, cornering is sloppy with a considerable amount of body roll.
While I’ll wax lyrical about how impressive this engine and gearbox combination is, it’s let down by lazy engineering and the battle of power with FPV’s HSV competition.
If you stand on the throttle from a standing start, the rear tyres attempt to erupt in tyre smoke, only to be reined in by the traction control. The 245mm wide rear tyres don’t have anywhere near enough grip to contain the torque this engine produces. It’s amusing at first but becomes frustrating when you are simply trying to drive without the theatrics.
Matters become even worse when the road becomes damp. Traction is harder to obtain and the slightly late intervention of the stability control during instances of traction loss make the F6 E more of a handful than it needs to be.
More attention needs to be paid to traction – or the lack thereof. HSV embarked on wider tyres to tackle the issue, while Ford has only increased tyre width on performance Falcons by 10mm since the AU Ford Falcon bit the dust, despite a 15% increase in power.
If the chaotic traction problems weren’t enough to frazzle you, just wait for the price. $79,740. That’s almost $80,000 for what is essentially a warmed over Falcon G6E Turbo.
Although FPV needed a luxury version of its F6, the F6 E is simply too expensive and doesn’t offer enough differentiation from its siblings.
If I was buying, I’d go straight for the G6E Turbo. Not only does it come with the same features (aside from the brakes and increase in power and torque), it’s over $20,000 cheaper and in my opinion also looks better.
Maybe I’m going mad, but I simply can’t see any reason to spend almost $80,000 on something that’s as good as its $57,490 sibling. Long live the G6E Turbo.
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